Since the 1940s, when the first large-scale evaluation was conducted by Ralph Tyler, considered the "father of education evaluation and assessment," the role of program evaluation has gained increasing importance. Today, evaluations are commissioned for programs that use public funding for oversight and accountability purposes. They are used to render judgment about a program's effectiveness and often conducted to help provide insights for sound decision-making, helping to inform ongoing program development.
In essence, program evaluators are asked to gather and summarize large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data, using the data to answer key questions – skills you'll gain by earning a Program Evaluation Online Graduate Certificate from UConn. Program highlights include:
Quality Matters Certified: As experts in Program Evaluation, we place a great deal of value on evaluations! To ensure that our courses positively affect student experiences, we have partnered with Quality Matters to improve our course design, make it easy for students to navigate, reduce barriers to student achievement, and ultimately, result in better outcomes. Every course we offer has the Gold Standard Quality Matters Certification – your assurance that just like you, UConn is committed to building a culture of continuous quality improvement.
Rigorous content delivered by content experts: Each of our faculty members is a content expert and active player in her particular field. In fact, all are PhD-level instructors who have published extensively and who currently work in the education psychology, measurement, evaluation, research design, and/or assessment fields. They are also well versed in the American Evaluation Association's Guiding Principles for Evaluators, the Program Evaluation Standards, and other related documents.
You'll gain competency in the most current theoretical knowledge, methods, and guiding principles, while our faculty share their practical experiences, presenting real-life challenges and actual solutions for tackling those challenges. And while coming into the program with strong writing skills is a big plus, our instructors will help you hone your communications skills so that you can translate data into meaningful findings for your different constituents.
Interactive environment using VoiceThread and Blackboard: In some courses, students participate in online discussion forums using VoiceThread, an innovative collaboration and sharing platform. Students create short videos in which they discuss their experiences with real-world situations, then upload those videos to VoiceThread. Other students can then add their voice, text, audio file, or video comments. This technology allows you to be as close as possible to other students without actually being in the same space to create a strong, vibrant online community of your peers.
In addition, HuskyCT, UConn's learning management system built on Blackboard, is also used extensively to promote collaboration. For example, students work asynchronously on an applied scenario that requires them to solve a specific problem, then work with other students, exchanging ideas, opinions, and suggestions. As one student notes, "It takes time to post responses because you have to think analytically and then write intelligently about why you support or don't support an idea. For me, it provided a rich collaborative experience."
One community of students: When you become part of our program, you'll move through the courses with the same cohort of students and have many opportunities to get to know them throughout the year. For example, the use of VoiceThread creates an environment similar to a traditional classroom setting in which you can hear and see your classmates' recorded voices or videos.
Real-world project to showcase your skills: Because practical application is such a strong focus of the program, you're given example cases throughout the first two courses to practice what you're learning. (A prerequisite in statistics is required for students who have not completed a graduate-level statistics course.) In the third course, EPSY 6194 – Advanced Program Evaluation, you'll work closely with your instructor and cohort to identify an actual client, then design an evaluation proposal, setting the stage for the real deal: EPSY 5195 – Practicum (Capstone Project). (It is preferred that students take the courses in sequential order.)
During the final Capstone Project course, you'll implement your program evaluation. From collecting and analyzing the data to writing a report and presenting your findings to your client, you'll integrate the new knowledge and skills you have gained – all in a safe, supportive environment. You'll leave the program with excellent credentials from a Top 25 Public University – plus a complete program evaluation project for your portfolio. Our faculty members are also extremely well connected to peers in their fields, giving you instant access to a network of resources and contacts.